Nanotechnology is an amazing field of innovation – both in terms of the materials used and of products made. However, the technology carries many risks and uncertainties: it may pose harm to people, nature, and the environment. Is an assessment of the potentially adverse impacts of nanomaterials and nanoproducts necessary before they can be brought onto the market? Many researchers see a need for legislation, but could setting standards be an alternative, either alone or in combination with legislation? This paper will argue that standards can enable innovation while also addressing the broader societal impact of nanotechnology. This chapter will first introduce the relation between standardisation and innovation in general. Next, it will describe and discuss current activities of the International Organization for Standardization ISO in this field. Section 3 will address the possible harm – the precautionary principle, and the possible role of legislation and standards. This chapter is based on lessons from literature combined with the author’s own practical experience in other fields of standardisation and innovation.

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de Vries, H.J. (2019). Standardisation - Enabler for nanotechnology innovation. In Nano Technology: Regulation and Public Discourse. Retrieved from